The perfect mom friend — she’s a unicorn in a herd of perfectly nice horses.
What gives her that distinguishing sparkling horn? Some of it is just happy circumstance.
Instead of a gumdrop forest, she lives in your neck of the woods. She might not be able to fly, but she does offer to drive on occasion.
The Magic of the Mom Friend
Her kid(s) get along with yours like leprechauns and rainbows. Your crazy schedules line up just enough that you can say “we should do this more often” and actually mean it.
But the real magic is that she doesn’t judge you, not even a little.
She understands some days call for more than one caffeinated beverage and some nights warrant an extra glass of wine.
As my older daughter “Del” becomes more and more excited to play with other children, I start to feel guilty about toting her around to hangout with my adult friends. Sure they adore her and coo over her, but they don’t share her love of feeding stuffed animals fake food or zipping around parks like a tiny Tasmanian devil.
So begins my search for the perfect mom friend.
Sidebar: some of my FAVORITE people on the planet are parents and I’m eternally grateful for their advice, hand-me-downs, and encouragement. Unfortunately my mom tribe is scattered around the globe and there’s only so much travel I can handle with two under two.
So I’m hunting for a Unicorn in my own backyard!
Because we live in a digital era, there’s an app for that. I downloaded Peanut and began dreaming up all of the rad adventures me and my shiny new mom pals would embark on. I wrote a bio and uploaded some pictures that I hoped made me look like a cool hang.
It wasn’t until I actually started swiping (a.k.a wading through a sea of snapchat selfies and blank profiles) that I realized my mistake.
This is the internet, where trying too hard is worse than not trying at all.
How am I supposed to know if I’ll get along with these people? All I know about them is how they look with cat ears! You don’t know, and not knowing is half the battle.
All the single ladies: I feel for you. Meeting people online seems simple enough but it’s not like shopping on Amazon with helpful reviews and the option to send something back if it’s nothing like what was advertised.
Not that I’ve had to worry about that last part, after about a month of using the Peanut app I have yet to go on a single play date.
Matching with a Mom Friend
Oh, don’t get me wrong, I match with plenty of moms and we TALK about getting together — at least some of us do — but it doesn’t actually HAPPEN.
I even got ghosted on this app! To soothe my ego, I’ve decided Ghost Mom is a bot created by the app to make me THINK I could find my unicorn mom friend here.
Her pictures looked purposeful, her bio is jam-packed with all the fun stuff she does with her kids. She literally has a line in her profile about how she looked forward to “hanging out in our pajamas and messy buns”.
Y’all, that spoke to my soul.
We had a lively back and forth but when I asked what her favorite park in our mutual city was, I never heard another word from her.
Did she get caught up doing something inspiring like knitting blankets for refugee children? Probably. If she’s reading this right now, “Hi. I don’t know how to knit but I’ll totally learn. Please don’t think I’m weird. Okay, real talk, I am weird, but please pretend you find it charming”.
Where were we? Ah, yes. In addition to Ghost Mom I’ve also connected with two Cancellation Moms and quite a few Can’t Hold Her End of the Conversation Moms.
It feels like these women are more interested in the idea of new friends than the reality.
This conundrum is, as I understand, identical to what daters face on apps designed to help them find their ideal match. We all think that perfect, flawless person is out there, but can’t find the energy to actually get out there and meet her.
Which brings me to the one positive thing I can say about the Peanut app: it’s increased my presence of mind when it comes to making new mom friends “in the wild”.
The Right Mom Friend
I’ve convinced my toddler whirlwind to slow long down enough for me to exchange numbers with a cool mom I met at our favorite park.
I’ve taken the time to reach out to the great moms I already know who live “close enough” because really, what’s an extra half hour drive between friends?
Maybe I’ll keep the app for a little longer.
Maybe I’ll get tipsy, send a heartfelt farewell to Ghost Mom, then delete the app so (if she’s even real) she can always wonder what could have been.
I guess it’s like what I tell my single friends: you’ll meet the right person when you least expect it.
You’ll go on picnics and see plays and have somewhere to turn when you inevitably run out of sunscreen at the splash pad.
You’ll be comfortable coming over for playdates in your pajamas and your messy bun; but if it’s at my house you don’t have to leave that way, I can do really cool braids.